University of Minnesota regents recently kicked around ideas on how to lighten the tuition burden on students and motivate them to finish their degrees within four years.
One of those ideas is the fixed-tuition (or guaranteed-tuition) plan, in which students who opt in pay the same tuition their fourth year that they pay in their first. That enables students and their parents to budget more accurately.
Some universities, such as the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana – offer one.
During a talk on tuition by Robert McMaster, the U’s dean of undergraduate education, regent Laura Brod asked him why so few students took up the plan when it was introduced about 15 years ago.
“If you get the fixed rate, that rate is normally fixed a bit higher [than the unfixed rate.] So I think parents look at that, and they bite for the lower rate starting out.”
McMaster cautioned that his belief was just a guess, but then said:
“… At this moment, my own daughter is looking at a college that has the two different options, and my inclination is to take the nonfixed rate — and take my chances that I’m going to be better off over the long haul.”